Increase women presence in the digital sector
This article was published first on the Website of Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,
18th February 2016.
In an increasingly digitalised world, more efforts should be undertaken to reduce the gender gap within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), said MEPs from the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee in a non-legislative resolution adopted on Thursday morning. MEPs call on the Commission to promote women’s education, training and participation in ICTs. While the growing digitalisation is having a strong impact on the labour market as well as on society as a whole, women continue to have difficulties getting access to the ICT sector, where they represent only 30% of the workforce. A text, adopted by 26 votes to 6, with 1 abstention, stresses the prominent role that the digitalisation can have in promoting gender equality.
“With the report on “Gender Equality and Empowering Women in the Digital Age” we as Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee make an important contribution to current developments surrounding the single digital market strategy of the European Commission. The Commission is missing out by not highlighting the enormous potential digitalisation can have for equality, participation and empowerment. In order to make use of the grave economic potential, we need to tackle the current gender gap in the ICT sector. Early on education in digital literacy and coding as well as better access to funding for female entrepreneurs are central for more women to enter and stay in the ICT sector”, said lead MEP Terry Reintke (Greens, DE).
Promote women’s empowerment
Members call on the Commission and member states to address the underrepresentation of women in the ICT sector, in particular those in higher positions and on boards and to take the necessary efforts to unblock the negotiations on the Directive on Women on Boards, which represents „a real opportunity to change the culture inside companies“. Attention should be paid to the gender dimension in ICT companies and other relevant industries, identifying the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation within the framework of the Commission’s roadmap „New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families“. Members also call on the Commission to make available and improve access to funds for female entrepreneurs and digital start -ups.
Education and training
Education and training are key to empower women in the digital age, says the text, stressing that 60% of school students in the EU never use digital equipment in their classroom. Girls should have the possibility to develop their interest and talent in the digital sector and, therefore, MEPs call on the Commission and Member States to boost STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education from an early age. The text also underlines the importance to integrate „coding, new media and technologies in education curricula at all levels“. Members also highlighted that digitalisation favours the promotion of direct democracy via the web, and thereby permitting women to be more involved in politics and improving their access to information.
Violence against women
The text stressed the need to fight violence against women in the context of digitalised world and notes that cyber-bullying, cyber stalking and trafficking in human beings and hate speeches are threats to women.